The inspection is nearly over and all that remains is to analyze the attic and roof structure. I walk over to the pull-down stairs, lay my tarp on the floor, and pull on the stair string, careful to keep the cascade of insulation and rat droppings to a light flurry. I make my way up the ladder, my mind buzzing and taking a series of mental snapshots. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and in this case, a thousand defects and dangers. I steady my camera and begin the structural inspection…
How was the roof built?
Engineered trusses or stick built rafters?
Are the rafters properly seated and connected to the ceiling joists?
Where are the collar ties, purlins, and braces?
Does the roof pitch require a ridge board?
What size are the ceiling joists and how are they connected?
Are they situated parallel or perpendicular to the rafters?
What is the method of construction and condition of the roof sheathing?
Any evidence of water intrusion?
And on and on and on….
I crawl through attics and trudge through muddy crawlspaces not for my love of rats and spiders. I spend much of my free time reading up on changes in the building codes. All this because I value the safety of my clients. All this because the unexamined home is not worth buying.